Tarragon Chicken Salad

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Inspiration for good food can be found anywhere, even Starbucks, where I had a delicious chicken salad sandwich recently. The key ingredients other than chicken? Sweetened dried cranberries and tarragon.

French tarragon is a distinctive herb, with a slight anise or licorice aroma. We don’t use it that often; I grew some last year and don’t think we used it more than once or twice the whole season. But it does pair well with chicken. The dried cranberries add some sweetness to the chicken salad, and the lemon juice just enough acidity to brighten all the flavors.

Tarragon Chicken Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat*
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried tarragon (or 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

* Poach about 1 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts and thighs, preferably bone-in (for flavor), in a quart of salted (2 teaspoons) water, for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from water, let cool, remove bones, chop the meat into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.


Mix all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning. Serve with lettuce for a simple salad, in a tomato that has been cut open for a stuffed tomato, or with slices of bread for a chicken salad sandwich.

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Tarragon Chicken Salad

Showing 4 of 40 Comments

  • Libbie

    This is my FAVORITE chicken salad recipe. I’ve been making it for 3 years now and finally decided to comment. Just made it with cubed and roasted sweet potato which expanded it and made it taste even better!

  • Ken

    Excellent recipe! I made it for a special lunheon and it was a big hit. The only thing I did different was that I bought a rotisserie chicken breast from the supermarket and shredded it. Thank You

  • Mary Morris

    I served this to some of my women friends after a beautiful morning picking too many cherries in eastern Contra Costa County, CA. I made a double plus recipe yesterday using fresh tarragon and today plopped a generous scoop over each plate adorned with a bed of fresh butter lettuce. EVERYONE wanted the recipe, so I just directed them to your website. There was some lettuce left on a few plates, but no chicken salad. Thanks yet again for another great recipe!

  • JW

    Thank you for this recipe. It was awesome!
    I’m dieting so I made a few changes…
    I made it with homemade roasted chicken breast. I also added 1/4c cashews to mine and (another batch with a 1/4c of almonds for my hubby who prefers almonds).

    I made it with 1/2c of greek plain yogurt instead of mayo. I mixed the yogurt with the lemon juice, salt & pepper, and a dash of dill, then mixed that with the other ingredients. I then wrapped the chicken salad in a lettuce wrap.

    WOW that was filling, refreshing and amazing.

    Next time I think I’ll use fresh dill instead of dry.

  • Tina

    I’ve made this chicken salad twice. One day, I realized that I was spending almost 6 dollars on a sandwich that I could probably have made myself–especially because it was made with, what Starbucks calls, “real food.”
    Both times, I have added apples (finely chopped) for a juicy fresh flavor, and used more dried tarragon (about 1.5 tbsps. I have a crude palate!) But otherwise, I think this recipe is PERFECT. The flavor is wonderful, and it’s nice to look at.
    I haven’t spent $5.95 on a Starbucks sandwich since!

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